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Women with ovarian cancer need better support

Last week I was pleased to show my support for women with ovarian cancer by attending the launch of Target Ovarian Cancer’s Pathfinder 2016 study in Parliament.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all the gynaecological cancers. Every year 7,300 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK, and 4,100 die from the disease. In fact 15 per cent of women die within two months of being diagnosed, and only a third survive 10 years after their diagnosis.

Women with ovarian cancer are left stranded without vital support at every turn, from diagnostic tests to access to nurses, according to the Pathfinder study.

Pathfinder 2016 found that:

  • just one in five UK women (20 per cent) could name bloating as a major symptom of ovarian cancer – an alarmingly low rate of awareness;
  • almost half of women (41 per cent) visited their GP three times or more before being referred for ovarian cancer tests, risking a delayed diagnosis; and
  • less than half of cancer nurses (46 per cent) think that their cancer unit has enough nurses to care for all the women being treated there.

With over 100 other MPs and healthcare professionals I joined Target Ovarian Cancer, UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity, to call on the government and health bodies to improve services. I want to ensure that all women with ovarian cancer get the care, support and new treatments that are needed, so that women’s lives are transformed, now and in future.

Pathfinder 2016 is the most-comprehensive study of its kind into the lives of people living and working with ovarian cancer in the UK. It surveyed women in the general population, women with ovarian cancer, GPs, nurses, friends and family to provide a comprehensive assessment of how lives can be saved and improvements made. To find out more, visit www.targetovariancancer.org.uk/Pathfinder2016


Symptoms of ovarian cancer

Symptoms of ovarian cancer are frequent (they usually happen more than 12 times a month) and persistent, and include:

  • increased abdominal size/persistent bloating;
  • difficulty eating/feeling full;
  • pelvic or abdominal pain; and
  • needing to urinate more urgently or more often.

Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, change in bowel habits, and extreme fatigue.

If you regularly experience any of these symptoms, which are not normal for you, it is important that you see your GP. It is unlikely that your symptoms are caused by a serious problem, but it is important to be checked out.

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